Friday, August 1, 2014

Challah Challenge

Now that I'll be staying home for a little bit, I'd like to get into the habit of making Challah each week.  We love getting our challah from EG's school, but I think there is something nice about the house smelling like bread and really bringing Shabbat to the forefront on fridays.

Did I mention that each week they send EG home with unbaked challah- so I've definitely started to bake a bit each week, if only so I can get her Challah to be edible.  But what about making it myself....

So, I'm announcing the Challah Challenge. 

Ruth and Dave cc
I want to find the perfect Challah recipe.  Something that's easy enough to achieve, but also flexible.  Something for everyone.  I want to try egg-free, gluten-free, etc. etc.

So, starting next month I'm going to be dedicating the second Friday of the month to a new Challah recipe.  I'm open to all suggestions. I've been looking through pinterest, they have some interesting designs and recipes.

Do you have a family recipe?  Can I try it out?

Shabbat Shalom- and here's to domestic bliss in the form of Challah!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Water Play- the summer savior!

It's a constant request of EG's to play out in the water.  Since finding Alondra park, she's asked to go to the water park almost as much as she asks to go to the beach (aka daily!)

Thank goodness we have our water table and those buckets.  When I made it, I didn't do anything fancy, but give the girl a bucket and some water and she's totally engaged for hours.

As you can see, EG doesn't even need the water table part, just a bucket, a shovel and some water will do.  She can spend literally an hour or more just enjoying the water, and thank goodness, since it's been so hot this summer.

When she kept asking to play with the water I got a little nervous, because I kept thinking that I wasn't a very creative mom.   I tried to make sure that we visited a few parks, museum, etc. but whenever I asked what she wanted to do, she wanted to play with water.

 I can't imagine what our water bill has looked like these past few months.  At least we're not UCLA....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gifts at the Hospital

One of the things that everyone recommended was bringing a gift for EG to the hospital, something we could give her that we could say was being given to her by the baby.

Honestly, if I hadn't heard about the idea from so many people I wouldn't have done it.  It seems sort of dishonest to say that Ocho could be giving a present to EG, but at the same time, it certainly did wonders to quell the growing gifts that Ocho was recieving.

Luckily for us, EG had just had her birthday.  I'm one of those mean mommies who doesn't give EG all of her presents right away- I put some of them aside for rainy days, and other times.  This was one of those great moments when I was able to add some of her birthday presents to the pile, and not go out and spend too much on another gift for her.

When putting together the gift I had a few considerations:

1. Nothing to extravagant.  I didn't want it to overshadow the arrival of the baby, and I didn't want it to be something so expensive, especially with all the extra costs we have right now with Ocho coming.  Double diapers are expensive!

2. Useable right away.  When I first thought about the gift, my mom had given EG playdough for her birthday.  I thought that was perfect.  But then my sister-in-law mentioned that playdough wouldn't exactly be easy to use in the hospital.  We wanted the gift to be something that she could interact with right away, sitting in the hospital bed with me.  This also knocked out bubbles, and anything else that needs to be an outside toy.

3. Long life span.  I wanted to make sure she had something that she could associate with her sister in a more permanent way.  She's good at making connections for her birthday presents, and I wanted to reinforce that these were gifts from Ocho, not just items for her.

So, what did I put in it?

I got EG a new t-shirt, which I thought was really really cute.  Something to say to the world that she's the big sister.  I also thought she could wear it to school the next day to announce the baby to her school.

I went out and bought the snowy tails book. Interactive, with lots of things to touch and playwith- I thought it was a great book because Ocho could play with it too.

Then I stole 'The Foot Book' from one of her birthday presents.  I thought the gift needed something else, and it turns our I was right, because this book was definitely her favorite!

I'm really glad we went with the gift.  She carried the bag around all week, and has told me on more than one occasion that Ocho gave this to her.  It definitely made things a bit sweeter.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The birth story of Ocho

When EG was born, I was in labor for 27 hours.  It started slow, we went to the hospital way to early, and then at 17 hours I had an epidural.  You know all about the aftermath, but the labor itself was long and exhausting.

When we were planning our 'strategy' for what was important for us delivering Ocho, we concentrated on the final phase of labor, the pushing, a lot.  We thought about when to go to the hospital, and made plans to get there much later than last time.

So here's the story of Ocho:

Contractions started around 4am on Sunday night/Monday morning.  I had been having trouble sleeping all night, waking up about every hour or so from 11pm until 3am.  Around 4am was when I realized what was waking me up wasn't having to go pee, but rather contractions that were becoming too much to sleep through.

I had read somewhere that having a glass of wine and a bath or shower could slow contractions, so I opened a bottle and got in the shower.  I was hopeful to be able to get back in bed, at least until the sun rose. The heat helped, but the wine definitely didn't make the contractions go away.  I took a few contractions in the shower, then thought I would lay on the couch to rest and still be awake enough to breathe through them.  I texted our doula Holly, and my cousin Ellen who would be taking care of EG in the morning.

Around 6am I turned on the TV and was started watching a new show that looked interesting, I thought I would keep myself occupied.  Through this whole time I hadn't woken up Working Dad yet.  I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible, anticipating that we would have a long day of labor ahead of us, and that maybe Ocho would be born sometime in the Monday/Tuesday early morning.  I ate some cheerios, thinking that I needed to keep my strength up.

Around 6:30am the contractions started to get heavier and more painful, so I got back in the shower.  Working Dad's alarm goes off on a typical Monday morning around 7am, so around 6:45am in the shower I started banging on the wall to call him into the bathroom.  He was so dazzed and confused.  It was sort of adorable if I hadn't been in a lot of pain.  He turns off the water, thinking that I need help getting out of the shower.  I yell at him and try to explain that I'm in labor, that the water's helping and that I want him to apply counter pressure to my back. We stay in the shower through one more contraction, but then I'm totally done with that.  We start sort of wandering the house- I'd stop through the contractions.  We watched 'The Lottery' together, and I just sort of struggled through the contractions.

I got back into the shower- the heat had seemed to help, and I love the shower.  At that point Working Dad had texted Holly who had responded that she would be at the house around 10am.  At this point it's somewhere between 7-8am, and I tell him that he needs to call her, that 10am isn't early enough, and that I'm not sure that I can make it through natural childbirth if it's going to be like this for the whole day.

We start hearing this chirping noise- it's the fire alarm making a low battery or signal.  I make Working Dad deal with it, because it's driving me crazy.  Unfortunately all he manages to accomplish is making all the alarms in the house go off.  Which panic's EG, who was just resting in her bed waiting for Daddy to come get her. Working Dad was planning to take EG to school, but at this point I'm sort of freaking out.  I tell him that he can't leave me alone, so he talks to Ellen, who agrees to come over and be with me.  Around this point I've been in the shower, and am having serious doubts about what's happening.

Ellen comes, but Working Dad decides he's not leaving me. He gets EG ready, and Ellen takes her to school in our car.  Then Working Dad gets a message from Holly, who suggests that we walk, and that I circle my hips, and that I stay upright.  We sort of dance through the house, and I have him put on some music for us to listen to.  We sort of find our groove, but at least once a contraction gets away from me and I burst into tears telling him that I'm going to die.

I get really hot so I go into our air conditioned bedroom and lie on the floor.  He's on the phone to Holly and I'm telling them both that I can't do this, and that I want to die, and that it's horrible.  Somehow he gets me off the floor, and we're back to circling my hips.  Ellen comes back, and Working Dad goes to talk to her.  I'm stating emphatically that we need to go to the hospital.  Working Dad wants to wait for Holly.

Ellen comes in, and I'm in a towel, and she says I think you should go to the hospital.  Working Dad really wants to wait, but I am insistent this time.  I tell him that we're going to the hospital, I'm getting some drugs, and that I'm really sorry insisted on hiring a doula and trying to have a natural childbirth.

We're trying to get to the car, and I throw on my negligee.  Working Dad is getting stuff, locking up, etc.  and I am focused on stupid things- EG's present, the air conditioner, etc. I have at least 3 contractions on the way to the car, grabbing onto Ellen and breathing hard, concentrating on my breathing.  Working Dad puts down a puddle pad on the seat and says should I go fast, or smoothly.  I say just go!  We start to go, and it's the most horrific car ride of my life.  It's around 9:17am when we get in the car, and I remember a crazy contraction that seems to last until after 9:22am.  Working Dad calls Holly and tells her we're in route to the hospital, so she turns around to join us.

I call my sister in law (the natural childbirth guru!) and tell her that this is insane, I'm going to the hospital to get drugs and that I can't do it.  She tells me it's okay, that I'm awesome.  I tell Working Dad that I'm sorry we paid for a doula. That I'm making a choice for drugs, and that it's okay- I won't blame him.  I complain that I wish this was my sisters birth, since her baby was born at 10am, and this one likely won't come for hours.

We get to the hospital, I step out of the car, and I think I pee down my leg.  It's my water breaking.  I have no recollection of my water breaking with EG, so I have no idea what this really means. I get wheel chaired up to the maternity wing, and they put me in triage.  Working Dad is there, and there's an issue with the paperwork...  A midwife comes in to check me, and I initially say no, I need a doctor.  But I change my mind, she checks me and it turns out that I'm 8 centimeters dilated. 

8 CENTIMETERS dilated!  WHAT!  WHAT!  I've only been in labor for 5 hours, I can't be 8 CENTIMETERS dilated! HOLY WHAT!

This whole time Working Dad has been dealing with the paperwork, and trying to get Holly upstairs.  Turns out that he left our birth plan in his other bag, so the midwife asks me what's important.  I tell her that the placenta needs to deliver on it's own- that she can't pull on the cord and that this is the most critical thing.  We get moved immediately to a labor and delivery room. They try to put the monitors on me, but I refuse to get back on the bed, so they tape them to me.  I'm standing there and Holly arrives, and Working Dad leaves to go and get all of our stuff.

I have about 4-5 contractions with Holly.  She's amazing, helping me through the contractions.  Working Dad gets back up to the room and they are trying to put an IV in me.  I don't need antibiotics, but they still want a hep-lock. I am determined to get back in the shower.  We head that way, Working Dad gets in his bathing suit and I wait on the toilet for the water to get warm.

I'm sitting on the toilet and something changes.  Something pops.  I'm in the shower, and I'm totally starting to push, and I tell them that the baby is coming.  That it's time to push.

I hear them state that they are preparing for a delivery in the shower.  Working Dad says, heck no, and physically lifts me up to get me to the bed.  There is a nurse there with a gown for me, and I shove her away.  I feel so bad, I apologize profusely, she says it's okay, just get on the bed, it's okay.  I'm totally naked and fine with that. Holly is there, the Midwife is there, and she's letting me push however I want.  I roll over onto my right side and we start to push.  The contractions are really far apart now, but not as painful.  I just let my body do what it does, I don't really push at all.

Then the head starts to come out.  We're all working together for me to push out the baby without tearing or having any problems.  We're going really slow, and all of a sudden I'm screaming my head off.  The ring of fire.  It seems to last forever- how slowly her head is coming out.  Holly keeps asking if I want to touch it, but I just want to lie there, and have it be over. It takes another 3 contractions, then her head is out.  No tearing, no episiotomy.  Even though I'm screaming, it's oddly relaxing, and calm.  It's totally different than birthing EG.

Then the shoulders pass, and we find out it's a girl.  She's up on my chest, and we're letting the cord pulsate.  The midwife (Esther) is amazing. She's been so wonderful, working with me, keeping it all together.  Being totally available to whatever works for me.

Ocho is born at 10:32am.  Just about an hour after we've arrived at the hospital.  I don't think we could have cut it much closer.

We wait until just about 10:45am, then they cut the cord.  They wait until just before 11am when the placenta delivers.  It's HUGE.  I can't believe how big it is, and how healthy it looks.  It's totally complete, and that's a big relief.

Ocho is breastfeeding already- she latches on like she's a champ.  They clean everything up, and we just sit there, reveling in the fact that we did it. Working Dad gets some time, he holds her and bonds with her.  It's amazing how enchanted he is.  He spends 2 minutes with her and knows that she's his.

 They finally weigh her, and I can't believe that I naturally delivered a 9lb 5oz baby.  So many crazy things happening today. 

But we did it.  I never had any drugs, not even some post delivery pitocin.  Just me, my body, my husband, our doula, the midwife.  Amazing.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Changing of the wardrobe

One of the things that drives me crazy about pregnancy is the constant changing of clothes.  You find out you're pregnant, and then it's a continuous shuffle of clothing in and out of the closet.  What fits, what doesn't?   What looks good today, which may be terrible tomorrow.  Thankfully I'm done with all of that- now it's time to start moving in the nursing wear.

In the last few weeks of being pregnant I started putting away a percentage of my non-nursing wear.  It's so hard to keep everything organized once you have the new baby, so I recommend that you get a jump start on changing out the clothes, so it's one less thing you have to work on/worry about when you bring baby home.

The first few days of nursing are always rough- so my recommendation is the less clothes the better.  In fact, I've spent much of the past 3 days at home in PJ bottoms and a bra.  Once you start to sort of get the hang of it, it's time to start exploring the world, and getting out of the house. In order to get out of the house, you need some clothes.

My favorite brands of nursing wear:


This is actually very similar to the dress that I wore to the hospital while in labor.  I love the line because it's items transfer smoothly from being pregnancy wear to nursing wear.  With so much going on, it's hard to cycle the clothes you can't wear anymore. This way, you know it fits your still sort of pouchy belly, and will accommodate your new babies eating habits.

Bun Maternity Nursing.

I love this line of clothes- in fact I sent a t-shirt to both my sister and my sister-in-law to celebrate them reaching 40 weeks and the coming of their two new additions.  They look like regular wifebeaters, and they are simple to use and look great.  I also LOVE that they are made in the USA, and are actually a local company here in LA.

I also have some good luck finding items at Old Navy and Target that are nursing wear.  But the good thing about nursing wear is that it's possible to find things in regular stores that will totally work for nursing.  One of my favorite items to buy is a t-shirt dress- totally works for nursing:

A great place to get a ton of clothes online, shipped directly to you is ModCloth. They have a flat rate shipping, free returns (though it is 30 days only, so you have to be quick.)  I've gotten a bunch of great dresses there, like this one:

It's a simple t-shirt dress, which makes access totally easy.

What brands do you like for nursing wear? Have you found a good 'regular' store that carries a lot of good options?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome Baby!

My sister-in-law has also welcomed their first son into the world- welcome IE.

I think I've decided that we should have a band for the two new additions here in SoCal- Ocho and the Niner...

Congratulations to Aunt K, Uncle S, and the five beautiful big sisters.  I know that we are truly blessed to have another family member in the world.

He's in the NICU right now, but he's doing well.  I think that he and Ocho have similar noses... so exciting.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Simchat Bat

Since we've delivered a baby girl, we've had to start thinking about her baby naming.  Unlike a bris, a girls baby naming doesn't really have a specific tradition. 

For EG we waited until she was a year old, and had her Simchat Bat at her birthday party.  It made for a very, very long day, but it was quite an enjoyable experience, and definitely made it a special occasion for us and the family.  We waited partly because we weren't ready, and partly because once we thought we were ready, both Grandma and my Aunt were dying, and it didn't seem right to be hosting a big celebration knowing they weren't going to be able to celebrate. 

This time, we have lots of options.  Typically there seem to be a few different options that are common:

1. On the 8th day.  This is echoing the circumcision of a newborn boy, and really plays to the covenant aspect of having a Jewish child.  Why wait if you can do it?

2. First Shabbat after Baby is born.  This seems to be the most standard, and depending on the temple is either the Friday night service, or less commonly at the Saturday service.  The family is called up to the bimah, and celebrated at the occasion.

3. Rosh Chodesh.  Since this is a holiday focusing on women and girls, it seems to be a popular choice for a baby naming ceremony.  It also gives a little more time to celebrate, but depending on where it falls might make for a mid-week celebration.

4.  Any other time you want to.   Since it's not a halacha ritual event, when you host it really means very little.  There's something nice about establishing your own family traditions....

We haven't figured out what we're going to do.  There's no chance of us doing it on Friday, since that would be tomorrow and we're totally not ready.

I'm personally leaning towards either doing it at about a month, or doing it when she turns 1 year old, like we did with EG.

Did you have a Simchat Bat for your daughter?

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